Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend with plays from Spain and France this Sunday.
BOTH SIDES TO STRIKE IN CAPITAL SHOWDOWN
Rayo Vallecano start the La Liga weekend just two points shy of the European qualification places.
Los Franjirrojos began the campaign as one of the favourites for relegation, yet the Madrid minnows now have a realistic chance of competing for continental football under the astute leadership of Andoni Iraola.
The Vallecas outfit have a great opportunity of climbing closer to the top-seven on Sunday when they welcome relegation-haunted Espanyol to the capital.
The visitors’ season has spiralled out of control with nine league losses in their last 11 to plummet into the bottom-three. Four points from safety, Los Periquitos are reaching the do-or-die stage.
Both sides should therefore take a positive approach to proceedings and the likelihood of a goal-heavy game appears to have been underrated by the market.
Rayo have won three on the spin at Vallecas – including overcoming Barcelona here not so long ago – and the hosts have gotten on the scoresheet in eight of their last nine, as well as 12 of 16 further back.
However, the hosts have kept their sheets clean just once in 14 and boast an encouraging 65% success-rate when backing Both Teams To Score here.
Despite their desperate plight, Espanyol always tend to produce in the final-third. The strugglers struck twice in defeat to bitter rivals Barcelona last week (and could/should have scored more).
It means the second-bottom outfit have now notched in 30 of their 34 league outings – remarkably, no La Liga side has a better goalscoring rate.
Los Periquitos have scored home and away against Barca, home and away against Real Madrid, home and away against Real Sociedad and also netted away at Atletico Madrid.
Outside of their Barcelona base, Espanyol have grabbed a goal in 16 of 17 away days.
Unfortunately for Espanyol, defence has been a major issue. The visitors have managed only six shutouts all season – only two of which were earned on their travels – and it’s made Los Periquitos one of the best sides to follow for winning Both Teams To Score wagers across Europe – 74% of their overall outings have seen this selection click, including 82% away.
RENNES THE RIGHT FORWARD
Rennes have blown off course in their quest for European competition recently, although Bruno Genesio’s group remain in the running ahead of the final furlong.
Les Rouge et Noirs sit a solitary point behind Lille coming into the weekend and have a great chance to increase their points tally on Sunday when travelling to already-relegated Ajaccio.
The Brittany boys have been largely reliant on their home efforts this season, tabling only four triumphs on their travels (W4-D5-L8). Still, SRFC have picked up 11 points from a possible 15 at bottom-seven outfits and have managed to topple PSG at the Parc des Princes in March, highlighting their potential.
Backing Rennes -1 Asian Handicap appears the safest selection here at 1.94 – the only way we’ll lose our stake is if the visitors fail to win the game (a Rennes victory by two or more goals provides profit).
And it’s difficult to see Ajaccio providing the necessary resistance here not to ensure at least a push on our play.
The Corsican club have now been beaten in 15 of 18 Ligue 1 dates in 2023, scoring a measly seven goals in the process.
Ajaccio have also been turned over in 19 of 21 tussles with teams in 12th and above, whilst losing nine of 10 at their Stade François Coty home against the same standard of opposition. L’Ours have scored only nine goals across 17 home games.
Ajaccio were confirmed as relegated following last weekend’s 5-0 annihilation at PSG, the hosts have failed to net in eight of their last nine in front of their home supporters and head coach Olivier Pantaloni has been preparing for second-tier life now for a number of weeks.
Therefore I’m quite happy to oppose the ailing hosts here on Sunday.
- Both Teams To Score in Rayo Vallecano vs Espanyol– 1 unit @ 1.91
- Rennes -1.0 Asian Handicap in Ajaccio vs Rennes – 1 unit @ 1.94
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